Gabriela Sá Pessoa Chosen as IWMF’s 2023 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

Brazilian journalist will report on human rights for international news outlets; Slovakian journalist Sara Cincurova is runner-up

[August 11, 2022 – WASHINGTON, DC] The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced its selection of Brazilian journalist Gabriela Sá Pessoa as the 2023 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow from a pool of more than 130 applicants from 51 countries. In its 18th year, the fellowship grants an individual journalist the opportunity to report on issues of human rights and global injustice while also providing extended educational opportunities in the United States.

To begin her fellowship, Sá Pessoa will join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies as a research associate and will also work with The Boston Globe and The New York Times. Passionate about the intersection of human rights and climate change, Sá Pessoa plans to explore the Amazonian economy and how the policies forged by the government of Brazil affect the lives of Indigenous communities, who are attempting to survive amidst environment crimes and deforestation.

“Women journalists’ courage and compassion have always inspired me,” said Sá Pessoa. “Being selected as an Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow is one of my life’s greatest honors. At this moment of history, when we are routinely watching setbacks in women’s rights, this experience renews my faith and courage to keep working as a journalist to explore the issues that matter the most to the world.”

Sá Pessoa is currently a news researcher for The Washington Post, where she produces reporting on the Amazon, human rights violations and environmental crimes. Prior to The Post, Sá Pessoa worked for two media outlets in Brazil: Folha de S.Paulo, covering local and national politics, and UOL, where she was assigned to COVID-19 coverage and the investigative desk. At UOL, she was part of the reporting team honored for its coverage of President Bolsonaro’s family. In 2015, Sá Pessoa won the Roche Prize for Health Journalism in Latin America from the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for a New Ibero American Journalism for her investigation of legal abortion. In 2019, Sá Pessoa received a scholarship to Columbia University, granted by Ling Institute to promising Brazilian journalists.

“Elizabeth Neuffer was an intrepid journalist with a remarkable drive to reveal injustice. Every day we are motivated to live by her example,” says Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. “Gabriela’s work investigating the intersection of human rights and environmental justice is the kind of critical reporting the world needs to better understand social inequity. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the IWMF family and look forward to her upcoming fellowship.”

This year’s runner-up is Slovakian freelance journalist Sara Cincurova, who reports on migration, conflict, human rights, humanitarian issues, and women’s rights. Cincurova’s reporting has appeared in The Guardian, BBC News, The New York Magazine, Al Jazeera English, and Der Spiegel, among other outlets. She’s covered the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 and reported from Kharkiv and other cities in Ukraine this year. Some of Cincurova’s feature reporting includes sexualized violence in Venezuela, detention centers in Libya, refugee migration across the Mediterranean, and forced sterilization in Slovakia. Cincurova was nominated for the One World Media New Voice Award in 2022 and received an honorable mention for best reporting at the 2021 Slovak Journalism Awards.

“I am honored to be this year’s runner-up and carry Elizabeth Neuffer’s legacy,” said Cincurova. “The work of human rights journalists is crucial for our society. Being a human rights reporter allows us to bear witness to historical events; yet, it’s also a job that enables us to shed light on survivors, honor the memory of those who perished, and document stories that would otherwise remain untold.”

This fellowship was created in memory of Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe correspondent and an IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner who was killed in 2003 while reporting in Iraq. In collaboration with her family, friends and peers, the fellowship honors Neuffer’s legacy while advancing the field of human rights and social justice reporting.

More information about the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship and other programs can be found on the IWMF website.


About the International Women’s Media Foundation

Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for women-identifying journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.

Media Contact
Charlotte Fox